Vermont Folklife Center - Digital Archive

AU1998-1070-008 -- Interview excerpt



AG:     Ua c'est une des chansons a Emile.

 

Y:

 

AG:

 

MP:     peux-tu expliquer ca en Anglais aussi pour la cassette for my recording.

 

Y:        That song there?

 

MP:     Can you say a little bit in English for the recording?

 

(all laughing)

 

AG:     That will be pretty hard to do. (laughing)

 

LG:     It’s about Noah, isn't it?

 

AG:     It’s about grandpa Noah.

 

Y:        Trying to build a boat I guess...

 

AG:     C'est lui qui nous a enseigne a planter la vigne, he showed us how to plant the vine, grape vine. He made himself a big boat. Y s'est fait faire un gros bateau.

It was for the deluge, he had made a, it’s a...

 

Y:        It’s about Noah’s ark, really.

 

AG:     It’s about Noah’s ark... and the other verse is about quand la mer rouge a paru, la mer rouge a paru...

 

Y:        ah oui...

 

AG:     ...a la troupe noire. Les Israelites y croyait qui fallait boire. Moise, Moise etait plus fin, il n'a pas bu, il les a tout' payer la traite pis lui i' n'a pas bu.

 

LG:     Moses is passing the wine, he wasn’t drinking it.

 

AG:     He passed the wine to everybody, they thought it was wine, it was red, it was the Red Sea, water from the Red Sea.

 

MP:     It was just water. Are we tiring you out?

 

AG:     Non, non.

 

Y:        She loves to do that, she loves to do that.

 

AG:     I love to sing, even though I don't sing good now; my voice is much lower, when I was younger, my voice was nice.

 

LG:     Mine has gone done a couple of octaves...

 

MP:     Ah really? so you were soprano?

 

LG:     I used to... I could sing either high or low it didn’t matter. A few years back I caught a bad cold and after that. boy, I couldn’t hit that high C anymore...

 

Y:

 

LG:     Once I do that then I’m all done for the night.

 

Y:        You keep that for the last.

 

AG:     That’s hard...

 

Y:        ...

 

MP:     It’s a strain for your voice.

 

LG:     It’s probably one thing that has ruined my voice.

 

Y:        She did all the time.

 

MP:     What were they country songs?

 

LG:     Ya, country songs. That's what I sing mostly, country songs. I sang in church, let's see, I sang at wedding.  I had to learn six new songs, you know, they were love songs. I was able to sing, I’ve got the recording of them, during practice I had recorded it so I could learn the words, one song I didn't even know, I never

heard it betore so I had to, I had to tape it, so...

 

MP:     Laurie Anne could you tell me a little bit about your life growing up? You grew up here in Highgate.

 

LG:     No. I grew up in Newport, New Hampshire.

 

MP:     Ah, that’s right, I can't believe I did that. we just spent all this time talking about Newport, New Hampshire, here I am talking... You were born in Newport?

 

LG:     I was born in Vermont, I was born in pepere Laroche’s house.

 

AG:     Ya. she was born in Vermont,...

 

MP:     Ah, ok.

 

LG:     I was born the day after...

 

Y:        The house right around the corner...

 

MP:     Right the one we were talking about..

 

LG:     ... my father and my mother were moving back here from Michigan, I was born the day after they got here. So I was almost a car baby...

 

AG:     I almost had her on the way.

 

MP:     Oh wow Michigan.

 

LG:     I almost didn't have a State but I could come out of...

 

(all laughing)

 

Y:        She was close to being born in Caughnawaga area...

 

MP:     No kidding.

 

Y:        The Indians would deliver.

 

AG:     We chose to move back, in was for a year in a half...

 

LG:     In Michigan

 

AG:     ...it was in Michigan...

 

LG:     Newport

 

AG:     ...Newport, Michigan..

 

MP:     Really!

 

AG:     And, we talked about moving back and my sister was living over there so she said, can you wait another two weeks, so I said I don’t want to have my baby on the way.  I still had a month to go, so we waited another two weeks, they wanted to come the same time as us, my older sister and I waited and we went on the road, there was a lot of fog, you know, and they were, they were in front of us in their car, just a little ways in front of us. All of a sudden, we get to the place we saw the car on the edge of the road, you know and dans le tosse, accctte y avait comme un...

 

Y:        Des guardrails …

 

AG:     Non. c'etait comme un, la machine etait de meme, accotte, personne grouillait, on est arrete la, m'a arrete, on a arrete les machines, c'est une machine qui a ete pour les repasser pi un truck s'en venait, ca tait que ca se trouvait a se ranger dans le bord, y on prit le fosse. Ca m'a enerver c'est efirayant, ca fait que. a voulait que j'attende que la machine soit repare; j'ai dit non, j'attends pu, on est parti. Moi et mon mari, on s'est envenu. on est arrive le soir vers b heures. J'ai ete me coucher a 10 heures du soir. J'tais fatiguee un peu, pas trop. c'est loin ca le Michigan...

 

Y:        Oui. c'est loin...

 

AG:     ...lendemain, 3 heures du matin, j'commence a avoir des crampes puis mes eaux on creve.Mon frere a ete chercher docteur Duis elle est venu au monde a midi.

 

MP:     A midi.

 

Y:        Dans le temcs, dans le temps de revenir au Vermont.

 

MP:     T'etais pas presse toi.

 

(all laughing)

 

AG:     J'sais pas si j'avais pu faire ca encore, j'pense pas.

 

MP:

 

LG:     Thank God for that.

 

(laughing)

 

MP:     So Laurie Anne what can you tell me about your schooling and what it was like to live in Newport, were they other French kids there.

 

LG:     No, there was Greeks and Fins and the only other French people that we knew was, my aunt had move over there and then my...

 

Y:        Across the road...

 

LG:     ... my uncle Wilfred had, his wife had passed away here in Vermont, so he brought his kids with him and my mother took care of all those kids along with us while he was working. He came back here or something...

 

AG:     Ya. he came back.

 

LG:     ... anyways, we used to get laughed at because we were French, you know, they would say "we can't play with you because you’re French... "

 

(laughing)

 

LG:     ...so I would say I can’t play with you because you’re Greek.

 

(laughing)

 

AG:     That’s smart enough.

 

LG:     I was very shy, very bashful.

 

MP:     Did you speak English when you went to school?

 

LG:     When I went to school. l didn't know how to speak English very much. I guess I learned it and then I didn’t speak French anymore; once we were there, you know. I went to school fourteen years. I went, I graduated in the 8th grade at a Newport school and…

 

AG:     She started working when she was young.

 

LG:     ... I start my first job was in the laundry . I was barely fourteen I guess, and we didn't go to highschool so then, you know. we had a good childhood because it was a music family. My father used to bring us to these Franco-American Club and the Moose Club and I don’t know the Forester Club. We used to have to sing, you know, my sister and I.

 

MP:     So those Clubs. they were in Newport?

 

LG:     Those were in Newport, New Hampshire.

 

MP:     So they were Francos there?

 

LG:     Ya but the people, very few people that we knew talk French. You must have known a few.

 

AG:     A few.

 

MP:     Grangers, l don't know. Once you move to an English town, you don’t use your French anymore.

 

AG:     Mostly English...

 

LG:     I was still young when we first move there. you know,and I started school when I was going on seven-years-old.  Because my birthday came at the wrong time so I couldn’t, I was like a year behind, I still passed a, you know, by the time I got to the Sth grade, I had the highest honors in English when I started school. I didn’t know what the teacher was talking about...

 

(laughing)

 

AG:     We used to speak French at home...

 

LG:     We talked French at home so, but, gradually, it was all English and then, we started, we listen to the radio of course my father liked country music. We played

music sometimes, he bring a bunch of people home, he’d wake us up in the middle of the night to get up and sing...

 

MP:     Join the party.

 

LG:     ...ya, so we’d had to sing and once in a while, like one time I went to a clam bake, this one I remember because I had these cowboy boots that they had got me and my mother, my sister and I, each had a nice little outfit, the skirt and the bolero and nice blouse and…

 

AG:     I could sew

 

LG:     ... My father played, bought me a guitar after he knew that I could play, I used to sneak my sister’s, when she was gone, l take her guitar and l had that book that she learned with...

 

LG:     ... So when they found that I could play, they bought me this guitar. All of my fingers used to get all really wore out because, they weren’t like now. you know, they were hard to play. Anyways, we had to go and sing. I sang at a clam bake. This is where they had...

 

MP:     In Maine...

 

LG:     ...in New Hampshire, we're still in New Hampshire.  Everybody come over and they ask me to sing a song so I’d sing it you know and they would put money in my boots, I had about twenty-eight dollars in my boots when I went home.

 

MP:     Wow.

 

(all laughing)

 

MP:     No kidding.

 

LG:     ...they paid me to sins.

 

MP:     How old were you then?

 

LG:     I must have been twelve...

 

MP:     Is that right?

 

AG:     Twenty-eight dollars then...

 

MP:     Ya sure, that was a lot of money...

 

AG:     Ya.

 

MP:     That’s a lot of money...Were you singing along, or with your sister at that time?

 

LG:     At that time I was singing alone.

 

MP:     Ya.

 

LG:     My sister had, she had gone to Nashua, New Hampshire to... to... I don’t know we came back from Nashua. I went with her for a summer we stayed with my grandfather Laroche and we were boarding there and we, we’d hitch a ride with this other ... the band would play on the radio so we would sing with the radio in

Keene. They picked us up in Nashua and they had this coupe. They raised the back of the thing...

 

MP:     Oh ya...

 

LG:     ... and there we were with the one guitar, at the time I didn’t have a guitar, the one guitar. One rumble, it was a trunk...we were sitting in the trunk with the

trunk open. Here we go going through Manchester to go to sing on the radio...

 

MP:     Oh gosh...

 

LG:     ... We sang three or four times on the radio there and we weresinging every Sunday at the Lone Star Ranch which was between Manchester and Nashua. It was nothing they paid us. I think they gave us five dollars to sing on the radio so we were not making much money and my sister got a job...

 

AG:     There was no too too many people that went there either. That’s why he probably couldn’t...

 

LG:     Teresa got a job in the mill over there and I had to sit around and our one bedroom all day long and all evening until she came home. It was not a very good life for a teenager.

 

(laughing)

 

LG:     I went back home, she, she bought me a ticket and she had a job so she was all set, she bought me a train ticket and I went back home to Newport.

 

MP:     That’s how you ended up singing by yourself that day.

 

LG:     Ya.

 

MP: Ya.

 

LG:     Ya so... we...I still have a picture that was taken of us standing next to a horse. We had the outfits on my mother had made us and, you know, we looked pretty

neat.

 

(laughing)

 

LG:     Then I started singing with my other sister. we all could sing just that... after three songs, she got married and we started singing Rita and I, and later on we all get married somehow. we were married and now when we get together we still sing, we don’t sing together until we get together.

 

MP:     Ya.

 

Y:        Was it two years ago...

 

LG:     Ya,two years ago.

 

Y:

 

LG:     Tony’s got a very soft voice and her voice doesn’t carry and when I sing I got a whole back of my voice and can sing without the mic and she still would be

softer than me...

 

MP:     Uh dear.

 

LG:     Rita sings, she and I .... she and I sing when we go see my brother in Florida, my brother Eddy that we’re proud of. He’s got his one man band and when we go there, we get up and we sing. People always asking when we want to go back.

 

MP:     Do you remember trip to Quebec when you were a kid?

 

LG:     No the first time I went to Canada is when I started going with Rita and that was like in 1948 or 49. I never been to Canada so I was eighteen, I think...

 

AG:  We never brought you to Canada with us?

 

LG:     Not that I remember. You brought me when l was a little girl, too small to remember.

 

AG:  But you used to stay there…

 

LG:     No but that was. that was when we came to uncle Henry’s in the beginning. we didn’t go to Canada...

 

AG:     I know we stayed there...

 

Y:        We stay...

 

AG:

 

Y:

MP:     From Newport New Hampshire, the kids would stay up here...

 

Y:

 

MP:     In Vermont...

 

Y:        Jo, nous aut' on y allait ensemble, Jo

 

LG:     I was eighteen when, the first time I went to mon oncle Baptiste.

 

MP:     To Quebec. So you grew up singing and learning songs from your mom. Can you remember the last, the first song...

 

LG:     The first song, I didn’t learn any songs from my mother maybe a couple of French one that I picked but it was mostly the country and western that we sang. My sister would write... we’d listen to the radio and she’d write first line. I’d write the second one and she’d write the third one...As she’s writing...

 

MP:     That’s how you got the words...

 

LG:     ...That’s how we got the words of the song.  We didn’t buy the songbooks, you know.  It wasn’t a lot of money involved.

 

AG:  We weren’t rich people.  We were poor.  We had enough to eat all the time though.

 

LG:  We harmonized while we washed dishes, and we’d take care of the kids, and the oldest one would always have to be the boss then she’d be hated by her brothers and sisters.  You was mean, they’d say, and I’d say well you didn’t want to listen, we each have a job to do. 

 

AG:  On Saturday they would go to their rooms and clean them and I would stay downstairs and cook the meals…

 

LG:  I was sixteen when I moved to Sanford Maine and worked in shoe shops.  When I was 17 I took a job in the mills, and I couldn’t work on any government products until I was 18.  Worked in the spinning room, then the mending—I got good wages in the mending room.  It was like a trade--but they got moved down South, so that left everyone without work, so we had to move to Massachussetts so we wouldn’t lose our car and our furniture was paid off.  Me and my husband got married in 1951, so I was just about 21 at the time…

 

MP:  How many children do you have?

 

LG:  I have eight children.

 

MP:  Eight?  Wow.  Do they all live around here?

 

LG:  All but two.  One daughter…her husband is in the Airforce, and so they live in Louisiana.  They’ve been there now going on three years.  My youngest son joined the Airforce so he is in Wichita right now.

 

MP:  And are they musically talented like you?

 

LG:  The only one is Roland, my oldest son.  Gordy wanted to play drums, so we got him drums.  One daughter plays the keyboard but she doesn’t play in front of anybody.  One son was in band and played the keyboard and the guitar and he took guitar lessons from my brother in law who taught guitar.  Most of them have good voices.

 

Y:  I was best man at the wedding.

 

LG:  You should have seen the announcement in the newspaper—everyone was Gagne!  Every last one…there was one girl who was an attendant that wasn’t a Gagne, and that was it.

 

(everyone laughs)

 

Y:  Lorretta, my cousin, was a bridesmaid..

 

LG:  My two sisters were bridesmaids…And then Anoinette and Rita, no Rita wasn’t…Tony and Irene were my children of Mary attendants and that little girl.  We had a big wedding reception over there then we’d come over here.  Almost didn’t have a waiting—my husband was working in the mill and a big crate of bobbins almost hit his head.  If it had he would’ve been killed but it hit his foot.  So there he is two weeks before the wedding.  He couldn’t put his shoe on two weeks later so he spent most of the wedding with his shoe off.

 

Y:  We had a reception that year!

 

LG:  My father had sold a cow, so we had a nice reception in Highgate.  A nice reception, a lot of music, cousins from Canada.

 

Y:  I was never much of a dancer.  I learned through Yvonne…I learned it all in one night!

 

(laughter)

 

MP:  Can you remember the first song you learned from your mom?

 

LG:  I don’t know…they used to have me singing…

 

Dublin Core

Title

AU1998-1070-008 -- Interview excerpt

Description

Excerpt from interview of Alberta Gagné (TC1998-1070-008) by Martha Pellerin. Part of a project (VFC1998-0007) on Franco-American song in New England funded by the Vermont Folklife Center and undertaken by Pellerin. Interview is one in a series of six conducted between 1995-01-09 and 1995-12-06 as an effort to document the French language song repertoire of Gagné.

Source

VFC1998-0007 Martha Pellerin Collection. TC1998-1070 interview with Alberta Gagné. Vermont Folklife Center Archive, Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury, Vermont, United States of America.

Date

Rights

Copyright (c) Vermont Folklife Center

Relation

Full Interview: vfc1998-0005_tc1998-1070

Language

eng
fra

Identifier

vfc1998-0007_tc1998-1070-001b_003

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Transcription

AG:     Ua c'est une des chansons a Emile.

 

Y:

 

AG:

 

MP:     peux-tu expliquer ca en Anglais aussi pour la cassette for my recording.

 

Y:        That song there?

 

MP:     Can you say a little bit in English for the recording?

 

(all laughing)

 

AG:     That will be pretty hard to do. (laughing)

 

LG:     It’s about Noah, isn't it?

 

AG:     It’s about grandpa Noah.

 

Y:        Trying to build a boat I guess...

 

AG:     C'est lui qui nous a enseigne a planter la vigne, he showed us how to plant the vine, grape vine. He made himself a big boat. Y s'est fait faire un gros bateau.

It was for the deluge, he had made a, it’s a...

 

Y:        It’s about Noah’s ark, really.

 

AG:     It’s about Noah’s ark... and the other verse is about quand la mer rouge a paru, la mer rouge a paru...

 

Y:        ah oui...

 

AG:     ...a la troupe noire. Les Israelites y croyait qui fallait boire. Moise, Moise etait plus fin, il n'a pas bu, il les a tout' payer la traite pis lui i' n'a pas bu.

 

LG:     Moses is passing the wine, he wasn’t drinking it.

 

AG:     He passed the wine to everybody, they thought it was wine, it was red, it was the Red Sea, water from the Red Sea.

 

MP:     It was just water. Are we tiring you out?

 

AG:     Non, non.

 

Y:        She loves to do that, she loves to do that.

 

AG:     I love to sing, even though I don't sing good now; my voice is much lower, when I was younger, my voice was nice.

 

LG:     Mine has gone done a couple of octaves...

 

MP:     Ah really? so you were soprano?

 

LG:     I used to... I could sing either high or low it didn’t matter. A few years back I caught a bad cold and after that. boy, I couldn’t hit that high C anymore...

 

Y:

 

LG:     Once I do that then I’m all done for the night.

 

Y:        You keep that for the last.

 

AG:     That’s hard...

 

Y:        ...

 

MP:     It’s a strain for your voice.

 

LG:     It’s probably one thing that has ruined my voice.

 

Y:        She did all the time.

 

MP:     What were they country songs?

 

LG:     Ya, country songs. That's what I sing mostly, country songs. I sang in church, let's see, I sang at wedding.  I had to learn six new songs, you know, they were love songs. I was able to sing, I’ve got the recording of them, during practice I had recorded it so I could learn the words, one song I didn't even know, I never

heard it betore so I had to, I had to tape it, so...

 

MP:     Laurie Anne could you tell me a little bit about your life growing up? You grew up here in Highgate.

 

LG:     No. I grew up in Newport, New Hampshire.

 

MP:     Ah, that’s right, I can't believe I did that. we just spent all this time talking about Newport, New Hampshire, here I am talking... You were born in Newport?

 

LG:     I was born in Vermont, I was born in pepere Laroche’s house.

 

AG:     Ya. she was born in Vermont,...

 

MP:     Ah, ok.

 

LG:     I was born the day after...

 

Y:        The house right around the corner...

 

MP:     Right the one we were talking about..

 

LG:     ... my father and my mother were moving back here from Michigan, I was born the day after they got here. So I was almost a car baby...

 

AG:     I almost had her on the way.

 

MP:     Oh wow Michigan.

 

LG:     I almost didn't have a State but I could come out of...

 

(all laughing)

 

Y:        She was close to being born in Caughnawaga area...

 

MP:     No kidding.

 

Y:        The Indians would deliver.

 

AG:     We chose to move back, in was for a year in a half...

 

LG:     In Michigan

 

AG:     ...it was in Michigan...

 

LG:     Newport

 

AG:     ...Newport, Michigan..

 

MP:     Really!

 

AG:     And, we talked about moving back and my sister was living over there so she said, can you wait another two weeks, so I said I don’t want to have my baby on the way.  I still had a month to go, so we waited another two weeks, they wanted to come the same time as us, my older sister and I waited and we went on the road, there was a lot of fog, you know, and they were, they were in front of us in their car, just a little ways in front of us. All of a sudden, we get to the place we saw the car on the edge of the road, you know and dans le tosse, accctte y avait comme un...

 

Y:        Des guardrails …

 

AG:     Non. c'etait comme un, la machine etait de meme, accotte, personne grouillait, on est arrete la, m'a arrete, on a arrete les machines, c'est une machine qui a ete pour les repasser pi un truck s'en venait, ca tait que ca se trouvait a se ranger dans le bord, y on prit le fosse. Ca m'a enerver c'est efirayant, ca fait que. a voulait que j'attende que la machine soit repare; j'ai dit non, j'attends pu, on est parti. Moi et mon mari, on s'est envenu. on est arrive le soir vers b heures. J'ai ete me coucher a 10 heures du soir. J'tais fatiguee un peu, pas trop. c'est loin ca le Michigan...

 

Y:        Oui. c'est loin...

 

AG:     ...lendemain, 3 heures du matin, j'commence a avoir des crampes puis mes eaux on creve.Mon frere a ete chercher docteur Duis elle est venu au monde a midi.

 

MP:     A midi.

 

Y:        Dans le temcs, dans le temps de revenir au Vermont.

 

MP:     T'etais pas presse toi.

 

(all laughing)

 

AG:     J'sais pas si j'avais pu faire ca encore, j'pense pas.

 

MP:

 

LG:     Thank God for that.

 

(laughing)

 

MP:     So Laurie Anne what can you tell me about your schooling and what it was like to live in Newport, were they other French kids there.

 

LG:     No, there was Greeks and Fins and the only other French people that we knew was, my aunt had move over there and then my...

 

Y:        Across the road...

 

LG:     ... my uncle Wilfred had, his wife had passed away here in Vermont, so he brought his kids with him and my mother took care of all those kids along with us while he was working. He came back here or something...

 

AG:     Ya. he came back.

 

LG:     ... anyways, we used to get laughed at because we were French, you know, they would say "we can't play with you because you’re French... "

 

(laughing)

 

LG:     ...so I would say I can’t play with you because you’re Greek.

 

(laughing)

 

AG:     That’s smart enough.

 

LG:     I was very shy, very bashful.

 

MP:     Did you speak English when you went to school?

 

LG:     When I went to school. l didn't know how to speak English very much. I guess I learned it and then I didn’t speak French anymore; once we were there, you know. I went to school fourteen years. I went, I graduated in the 8th grade at a Newport school and…

 

AG:     She started working when she was young.

 

LG:     ... I start my first job was in the laundry . I was barely fourteen I guess, and we didn't go to highschool so then, you know. we had a good childhood because it was a music family. My father used to bring us to these Franco-American Club and the Moose Club and I don’t know the Forester Club. We used to have to sing, you know, my sister and I.

 

MP:     So those Clubs. they were in Newport?

 

LG:     Those were in Newport, New Hampshire.

 

MP:     So they were Francos there?

 

LG:     Ya but the people, very few people that we knew talk French. You must have known a few.

 

AG:     A few.

 

MP:     Grangers, l don't know. Once you move to an English town, you don’t use your French anymore.

 

AG:     Mostly English...

 

LG:     I was still young when we first move there. you know,and I started school when I was going on seven-years-old.  Because my birthday came at the wrong time so I couldn’t, I was like a year behind, I still passed a, you know, by the time I got to the Sth grade, I had the highest honors in English when I started school. I didn’t know what the teacher was talking about...

 

(laughing)

 

AG:     We used to speak French at home...

 

LG:     We talked French at home so, but, gradually, it was all English and then, we started, we listen to the radio of course my father liked country music. We played

music sometimes, he bring a bunch of people home, he’d wake us up in the middle of the night to get up and sing...

 

MP:     Join the party.

 

LG:     ...ya, so we’d had to sing and once in a while, like one time I went to a clam bake, this one I remember because I had these cowboy boots that they had got me and my mother, my sister and I, each had a nice little outfit, the skirt and the bolero and nice blouse and…

 

AG:     I could sew

 

LG:     ... My father played, bought me a guitar after he knew that I could play, I used to sneak my sister’s, when she was gone, l take her guitar and l had that book that she learned with...

 

LG:     ... So when they found that I could play, they bought me this guitar. All of my fingers used to get all really wore out because, they weren’t like now. you know, they were hard to play. Anyways, we had to go and sing. I sang at a clam bake. This is where they had...

 

MP:     In Maine...

 

LG:     ...in New Hampshire, we're still in New Hampshire.  Everybody come over and they ask me to sing a song so I’d sing it you know and they would put money in my boots, I had about twenty-eight dollars in my boots when I went home.

 

MP:     Wow.

 

(all laughing)

 

MP:     No kidding.

 

LG:     ...they paid me to sins.

 

MP:     How old were you then?

 

LG:     I must have been twelve...

 

MP:     Is that right?

 

AG:     Twenty-eight dollars then...

 

MP:     Ya sure, that was a lot of money...

 

AG:     Ya.

 

MP:     That’s a lot of money...Were you singing along, or with your sister at that time?

 

LG:     At that time I was singing alone.

 

MP:     Ya.

 

LG:     My sister had, she had gone to Nashua, New Hampshire to... to... I don’t know we came back from Nashua. I went with her for a summer we stayed with my grandfather Laroche and we were boarding there and we, we’d hitch a ride with this other ... the band would play on the radio so we would sing with the radio in

Keene. They picked us up in Nashua and they had this coupe. They raised the back of the thing...

 

MP:     Oh ya...

 

LG:     ... and there we were with the one guitar, at the time I didn’t have a guitar, the one guitar. One rumble, it was a trunk...we were sitting in the trunk with the

trunk open. Here we go going through Manchester to go to sing on the radio...

 

MP:     Oh gosh...

 

LG:     ... We sang three or four times on the radio there and we weresinging every Sunday at the Lone Star Ranch which was between Manchester and Nashua. It was nothing they paid us. I think they gave us five dollars to sing on the radio so we were not making much money and my sister got a job...

 

AG:     There was no too too many people that went there either. That’s why he probably couldn’t...

 

LG:     Teresa got a job in the mill over there and I had to sit around and our one bedroom all day long and all evening until she came home. It was not a very good life for a teenager.

 

(laughing)

 

LG:     I went back home, she, she bought me a ticket and she had a job so she was all set, she bought me a train ticket and I went back home to Newport.

 

MP:     That’s how you ended up singing by yourself that day.

 

LG:     Ya.

 

MP: Ya.

 

LG:     Ya so... we...I still have a picture that was taken of us standing next to a horse. We had the outfits on my mother had made us and, you know, we looked pretty

neat.

 

(laughing)

 

LG:     Then I started singing with my other sister. we all could sing just that... after three songs, she got married and we started singing Rita and I, and later on we all get married somehow. we were married and now when we get together we still sing, we don’t sing together until we get together.

 

MP:     Ya.

 

Y:        Was it two years ago...

 

LG:     Ya,two years ago.

 

Y:

 

LG:     Tony’s got a very soft voice and her voice doesn’t carry and when I sing I got a whole back of my voice and can sing without the mic and she still would be

softer than me...

 

MP:     Uh dear.

 

LG:     Rita sings, she and I .... she and I sing when we go see my brother in Florida, my brother Eddy that we’re proud of. He’s got his one man band and when we go there, we get up and we sing. People always asking when we want to go back.

 

MP:     Do you remember trip to Quebec when you were a kid?

 

LG:     No the first time I went to Canada is when I started going with Rita and that was like in 1948 or 49. I never been to Canada so I was eighteen, I think...

 

AG:  We never brought you to Canada with us?

 

LG:     Not that I remember. You brought me when l was a little girl, too small to remember.

 

AG:  But you used to stay there…

 

LG:     No but that was. that was when we came to uncle Henry’s in the beginning. we didn’t go to Canada...

 

AG:     I know we stayed there...

 

Y:        We stay...

 

AG:

 

Y:

MP:     From Newport New Hampshire, the kids would stay up here...

 

Y:

 

MP:     In Vermont...

 

Y:        Jo, nous aut' on y allait ensemble, Jo

 

LG:     I was eighteen when, the first time I went to mon oncle Baptiste.

 

MP:     To Quebec. So you grew up singing and learning songs from your mom. Can you remember the last, the first song...

 

LG:     The first song, I didn’t learn any songs from my mother maybe a couple of French one that I picked but it was mostly the country and western that we sang. My sister would write... we’d listen to the radio and she’d write first line. I’d write the second one and she’d write the third one...As she’s writing...

 

MP:     That’s how you got the words...

 

LG:     ...That’s how we got the words of the song.  We didn’t buy the songbooks, you know.  It wasn’t a lot of money involved.

 

AG:  We weren’t rich people.  We were poor.  We had enough to eat all the time though.

 

LG:  We harmonized while we washed dishes, and we’d take care of the kids, and the oldest one would always have to be the boss then she’d be hated by her brothers and sisters.  You was mean, they’d say, and I’d say well you didn’t want to listen, we each have a job to do. 

 

AG:  On Saturday they would go to their rooms and clean them and I would stay downstairs and cook the meals…

 

LG:  I was sixteen when I moved to Sanford Maine and worked in shoe shops.  When I was 17 I took a job in the mills, and I couldn’t work on any government products until I was 18.  Worked in the spinning room, then the mending—I got good wages in the mending room.  It was like a trade--but they got moved down South, so that left everyone without work, so we had to move to Massachussetts so we wouldn’t lose our car and our furniture was paid off.  Me and my husband got married in 1951, so I was just about 21 at the time…

 

MP:  How many children do you have?

 

LG:  I have eight children.

 

MP:  Eight?  Wow.  Do they all live around here?

 

LG:  All but two.  One daughter…her husband is in the Airforce, and so they live in Louisiana.  They’ve been there now going on three years.  My youngest son joined the Airforce so he is in Wichita right now.

 

MP:  And are they musically talented like you?

 

LG:  The only one is Roland, my oldest son.  Gordy wanted to play drums, so we got him drums.  One daughter plays the keyboard but she doesn’t play in front of anybody.  One son was in band and played the keyboard and the guitar and he took guitar lessons from my brother in law who taught guitar.  Most of them have good voices.

 

Y:  I was best man at the wedding.

 

LG:  You should have seen the announcement in the newspaper—everyone was Gagne!  Every last one…there was one girl who was an attendant that wasn’t a Gagne, and that was it.

 

(everyone laughs)

 

Y:  Lorretta, my cousin, was a bridesmaid..

 

LG:  My two sisters were bridesmaids…And then Anoinette and Rita, no Rita wasn’t…Tony and Irene were my children of Mary attendants and that little girl.  We had a big wedding reception over there then we’d come over here.  Almost didn’t have a waiting—my husband was working in the mill and a big crate of bobbins almost hit his head.  If it had he would’ve been killed but it hit his foot.  So there he is two weeks before the wedding.  He couldn’t put his shoe on two weeks later so he spent most of the wedding with his shoe off.

 

Y:  We had a reception that year!

 

LG:  My father had sold a cow, so we had a nice reception in Highgate.  A nice reception, a lot of music, cousins from Canada.

 

Y:  I was never much of a dancer.  I learned through Yvonne…I learned it all in one night!

 

(laughter)

 

MP:  Can you remember the first song you learned from your mom?

 

LG:  I don’t know…they used to have me singing…

 

Original Format

sound cassette (analog)

Citation

“AU1998-1070-008 -- Interview excerpt,” Vermont Folklife Center Digital Collections, accessed August 21, 2014, http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/digital-archive/collections/items/show/375.